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NewsPoster Dec 5, 2013 12:20 AM
WSJ: Apple has signed deal with China Mobile for latest iPhones
The <em>Wall Street Journal</em> is reporting that a formal agreement between Apple and the world's largest -- and up till recently, the biggest iPhone holdout -- carrier, China Mobile, has been signed. The story is confirmed only by a single, unnamed source -- normally a violation of journalistic standards -- but other evidence to support the contention has appeared, including a <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299853==http://www.macnn.com/articles/13/12/03/first.acknowledgement.of.deal.between.apple.and.wo rlds.largest.carrier/" rel='nofollow'>pre-order site</a> connected to China Mobile serving a wealthy Shanghai suburb and <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299854==http://www.electronista.com/articles/13/11/26/china.mobile.4g.network.compatible.with.iphone.5c. 5s/" rel='nofollow'>state media announcements</a>.<br><br />
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<div align='center'><img src='http://photos.macnn.com/article_images/1386220698-md-hero.png' style='max-width: 100%;' alt='' border='0' pagespeed_url_hash="2049367361"/></div><br />
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While the iPhone has been available for quite some time on the country's second- and third-largest carriers, Apple has been <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299651==http://www.electronista.com/articles/11/06/22/suggests.new.chinese.iphone.coverage.soon/">pushing for a deal</a> with the carrier for going on six years. China Mobile actually has <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299654==http://www.macnn.com/articles/12/03/05/carrier.still.unofficially.supported/">admitted</a> to having over 15 million iPhone users already on its network despite its lack of support, but until recently such users were limited to EDGE-like 2G data speeds because previous models were incompatible with the company's TD-SCDMA 3G technology. Only the recent iPhone models are compatible with the TD-LTE "4G" techology that has finally allowed a deal to come together.<br />
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Earlier this week, a <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299851==http://www.macnn.com/articles/13/12/03/first.acknowledgement.of.deal.between.apple.and.wo rlds.largest.carrier/" rel='nofollow'>website connected to China Mobile</a> opened for pre-orders on the latest iPhones, reinforcing a common rumored debut date of December 18 for the partnership to formally begin. Earlier reports from the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency also pegged the iPhone's China Mobile debut on <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299218==http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sci/2013-11/25/c_132914809.htm">the same day</a> -- with the iPhone 5c and 5s debuting for the first time. In addition, all of the top three carriers have been <a href="http://macnn.com/rd/299852==http://www.electronista.com/articles/13/12/04/issued.licenses.allow.for.4g.lte.cellular.usage.in .china/" rel='nofollow'>awarded licenses</a> to use TD-LTE in the country, meaning a substantive portion of China's major cities and urban areas will have access to high-speed cellular data that is compatible with the latest iPhones.<br />
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As of October, China Mobile alone had some 759 million subscribers, though many are still on feature-phone devices rather than smartphones. However, China's middle class is rapidly expanding compared to the shrinking US middle class, making it a vital growth market for Apple and its rivals. By way of comparison, America's largest cellular provider -- Verizon -- has a customer base just one-seventh as large.
 
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